Texas A&M named Kyle Allen as its starting quarterback on Monday. The team announced its decision via Twitter.
— Texas A&M Football (@AggieFootball) August 24, 2015
Allen started the team’s final five games as a freshman in 2014 and earned Liberty Bowl MVP honors during a four-touchdown performance that led the Aggies to a 45-37 win against West Virginia. He finished with 1,208 yards, 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions on 118 of 192 passing.
The move comes as little surprise to most who expect Allen to be in consideration for an All-SEC spot. However, with five-star dual-threat freshman Kyler Murray in the fold, speculation arose that head coach Kevin Sumlin would implement a two quarterback system, which he acknowledged during SEC Media Days in July.
“I really haven’t done it before,” Sumlin said. “We’ll see. We’ve never started out that way. That doesn’t mean that we won’t. We’ll see where we are in fall. Kyle is confident right now and should be. …Kyler is a guy who all he’s done is won. It’s like anything else. It’s not like Kyler didn’t know Kyle Allen was the MVP of the bowl game. That didn’t stop him.”
To many, Murray is a comparable talent to former Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. Since Manziel’s departure, Sumlin’s teams have taken a step back each season, winning less games than the prior year.
But Murray is still lacks in-game experience where Allen, also a former five-star prospect, proved to be ready late into his debut season. The Aggies offense could be the best in the SEC with a plethora of talent.
Each wide receiver could start on any other FBS team — at least — as a second or third option. Either quarterback should be capable of getting the football downfield to the likes of Josh Reynolds, Speedy Noil, Ricky Seals-Jones and incoming five-star Christian Kirk.
Like Allen, many of Texas A&M’s receivers enjoyed breakout performances as underclassmen in 2014. After gaining in-game experience, the young Aggies are expected to see an ever greater output in the passing offense in 2015.
Allen provides the best chance to win now and should thrive in a stellar offensive scheme. As a starter, he gained both in-game experience and the ability to handle the pressure of the SEC.
The sophomore led the Aggies to a 41-38 win against Auburn that spoiled the Tigers’ College Football Playoff chances. Allen enjoyed a four-touchdown performance to lead Texas A&M to its biggest win of the season.
Texas A&M has the widest range of best/worst-case scenarios in the SEC. Assuming the Aggies’ young roster is ready to contend in the SEC West, the team is capable of winning at least 10 games.
But facing a tough SEC West schedule and defensive concerns — which should be answered following the hire of revered coordinator John Chavis — its possible that A&M goes without a bowl. This is where an experience quarterback holds an advantage.
Allen provides the best chance for the Aggies to win decisive games against a tough opposition. If Texas A&M truly has the conference’s best wide receiver group it must start its more experienced and polished passer to reap the benefits.
While Murray has enough natural ability to succeed on raw talent, Allen is the obvious choice to start during the Aggies’ season opener against Arizona State on Sept. 5. Though the freshman may see the field in certain packages, the starting role is too big to rush into.
Despite many expecting the move regardless, Sumlin made the wise decision to name Allen the starting quarterback with less than two weeks remaining until the season opener. The sophomore should help an outstanding A&M passing offense reach its full potential and improve its record in 2015.